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Tour Mash: Dustin Johnson Overpowers Spieth in Northern Trust Playoff

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The PGA Tour began its playoff season on Long Island, while the Web.com Tour concluded its regular season in Washington state. The LPGA Tour returned to individual competition at the Canadian Pacific Open, while the European and Champions tours marched toward their playoff seasons. August bids farewell with a healthy mash of golfing excellence. Read on!

PGA Tour: FedEx Cup Playoffs begin with a Johnson win at The Northern Trust

Dustin Johnson made an inconceivable putt on the 72nd hole to save par and remain even with Jordan Spieth. He hit an implausible tee ball over water, sand, fire, you name it, on the day’s only playoff hole. It was Johnson’s wedge game, the facet that brought him from top-20 golfer to world No. 1, that earned him the win in the first FedEx Cup playoff event.

After his cannon shot returned to Earth on the first playoff hole, Johnson was left with less than 100 yards to the green. He stuffed a wedge in tight, and then watched as Spieth had the speed, but not the aim, on his birdie putt. After the Texan tapped in for par, Johnson’s 3-footer went in the center, and his 16th career title was secured.

Spieth had a three-shot lead over the 2016 U.S. Open champ when the day began, and he started well with two birdies in his first five holes. One of those errors that has caused many to question Spieth’s swing happened on the sixth hole. Spieth chunk-dunked his tee ball on the watery par-3, made double, and followed it with a bogey three holes later. Like that, his lead was gone.

Related: Dustin Johnson’s Winning WITB

LPGA Tour: A Walk for Park at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open

Mo Martin and Nicole Broch Larsen began Sunday of Canada’s National Open Championship in a tie for first. They learned that scores around even par get passed. Unable to muster any Sunday momentum, both golfers dropped from contention.

Replacing them at the top of the leaderboard were Koreans Mirim Lee and Sung Hyun Park. Lee had a volatile round, countering three bogeys with two birdies and two eagles. Lee was able to move up two spots on Sunday, from fourth to second, courtesy of her closing 68. Park was better. She marked seven birdies and zero bogeys on her card on Sunday, and moved all the way from a tie for 12th to the winner’s seat.

The victory, paired with her July win at the U.S. Open, made Park the queen of North America. She moved into the fouth spot on the Race to CME Globe chase. Canadian Brooke Henderson hoped to rally on Sunday and give her fans a homebred hero, but her closing 71 dropped her to a tie for 12th.

European Tour: Made In Denmark Open is Suri’s 1st Big Win

The American on everyone’s radar this week was John Daly. The two-time major winner and denizen of the Champions Tour had played himself into contention. JD would ultimately finish tied for the 10th spot, but it was another U.S. golfer who would steal the show and the title.

Julian Suri was paired with third-round leader David Horsey, and he served notice early on that he would figure in the outcome. Suri birdied five holes on the outward half, turning in 31. Horsey recovered from a first-hole bogey to add five birdies on the day, and he came to the 18th hole one back of Suri.

On the day’s final fairway, Horsey came undone. He made triple bogey when he needed birdie, finishing second to Suri and his Sunday 64. The victory was Suri’s first on the European Tour.

Web.com Tour: Garnett Wins for 2nd Time in 2017 at Portland Open

Two resolutions took place over the last hour of the Portland Open. Brice Garnett separated himself from the field, with birdies on each of the odd-numbered holes on the inward half, plus one more at the 18th. His four-stroke victory was his second of the 2017 campaign, and his fifth top-10 finish of the year. Garnett, along with 24 others, secured PGA Tour cards for the 2017-18 season.

In the same pairing, Keith Mitchell could not catch a break on his last few holes. Needing one more birdie to earn his PGA Tour card, Mitchell left a birdie putt on the edge of the 17th hole, then missed his second shot left on the par-five 18th and could not get up and down for the stroke he needed. Mitchell finished tied for sixth, one stroke shy of his card. To make matters worse, Mitchell revealed in a post-round interview that sources on the final tee told him he needed eagle, not birdie, on the final hole.

For Garnett, the win moved him to the top spot on the money list and affirmed the quality of his game, giving him momentum as the Web.com Tour Finals begin. For Mitchell, the Finals give him another opportunity to earn a PGA Tour card.

Related: See The 25 Newest PGA Tour Members

Champions Tour: Kelly Claims 1st Win at Boeing Classic

Jerry Kelly could not have found two more dissimilar pursuers in his chase for an inaugural Champions Tour victory. Jerry Smith had zero regular-tour wins to his credit, but his final-round 64 brought him to 18-under par, good for second place. On Smith’s heels was that guy who shows up every week, Bernhard Langer. The great German champion went out in 4-under, came home in 3-under, and finished in a tie for third with Billy Mayfair.

It was Kelly who exorcised a few demons this Sunday in Snoqualmie. He made no mistakes on his outward half, but his two birdies gave hope to the Smiths and the Langers. Kelly found that extra gear that leads to trophies on the inward half. He added four birdies for 66, and escaped The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge with a one-shot win over Smith.

The victory brought Kelly to 11th on the Schwab Cup list, while Langer further secured his hold on the top spot. Smith moved from 43rd to 30th with his runner-up finish.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Sean

    Aug 29, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Johnson didn’t “overpower” Spieth. Spieth admitted afterwards that he should have hit his tee shot over the pond…which he did during the practice rounds…and said he simply made a poor choice by not doing so.

  2. mn

    Aug 29, 2017 at 2:29 am

    Spieth choked and lost a big lead. But as far as the playoff hole goes, it pretty much sums up the entire difference between Speith and DJ. DJ’s drive was notable, but the second shots were really telling – Jordan spent half an hour talking it out with his caddie, wiped down his club, rechecked the yardage, backed off, talked some more, then hit a mediocre shot. 30 seconds later DJ hit a wedge to two feet. Speith needs to get out of his head and just play golf.

  3. Rex

    Aug 28, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    So glad DJ won. I’m so over Spieth and how he wins. He skanks it around and the drops 20 foot putts. Does everyone like him on here?

    • nyguy

      Aug 30, 2017 at 6:40 pm

      I feel the same way, and yes it seems like alot of people on GOLFwrx love “YJS”, as you’ll see in the forums, LOL

  4. Tom54

    Aug 28, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    That was a very exciting final round. You had two of the games best battling it out till the end. DJ clearly outplayed Speith down the stretch finally making some putts when it counted. Golf has plenty of young stars and it was nice seeing two of its best showing us their best. Hope the rest of the playoffs have some more match ups like these

  5. Northwestgolfer

    Aug 28, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Web.com Tour played in North Plains, Oregon, not in Washington state.

  6. Peter Schmitt

    Aug 28, 2017 at 9:08 am

    When DJ hit that drive on the playoff hole, I heard Bill Raftery blurt out “ONIONS!!” in my head. Takes some major cojones to hit one on that line in that situation. Mad respect, DJ!

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Monday’s Photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge at the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West (7,113 yards, par 72) in La Quinta, California.

The field this week is headlined by Jon Rahm, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings after his second-place finish at the 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago. Joining him in the field are notables John Daly, Brian Harman, last week’s Sony Open champion Patton Kizzire, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson.

Defending-champion Hudson Swafford notched his first career victory at the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge, where he won by one stroke over Adam Hadwin. He’ll be back in the field this year to defend his title.

Check out our photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge below!

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Tour Rundown: Europe storms back, Kizzire takes trophy in a marathon playoff

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The second week of 2018 returned a number of tours to action around the globe.  The Hawaiian-stretch concluded on the PGA Tour, while Europe began its campaign in South Africa. The PGA Tour Champions and PGA Tour Australasia were also in action. And just for fun, the Web.Com Tour’s Great Exuma Classic in the Bahamas began on Saturday and concludes on Tuesday. At the halfway point, Dan McCarthy holds a 1-stroke lead over three guys named Matt, Mark and Rhein. Dash with us to the first Tour Rundown of this new year.

Eurasia Cup goes to Europe in a final-day comeback

Following the trace of the Ryder and Presidents cups, the Eurasia Cup pitted 12 golfers from the Asian continent against a dozen counterparts from Europe. The Asian hosts acquitted themselves well in team play, surging to a 3.5-2.5 lead after Day 1, and retaining the same margin after Day 2, 6.5-5.5. Unfortunately for the likes of Haotong Li, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Byeong Hun An, Day 3 belonged to Europe. The 8.5-3.5 tally over the final 18 holes gave the visitors a 14-11 win.

How Europe won

Alex Noren has played superb golf the last 24 months, winning five times in Europe. He led off on Saturday for Europe, made 5 birdies, and dispatched Nicholas Fung, 4 & 2. And the boys in blue were off in a hurry. Although Poom Saksanin would level the day’s tally with a second-match win over Paul Casey, Europe proceeded to win the following 7 matches and claim the challenge cup. The greatest win belonged to Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who etched 6 birdies onto his scorecard in a 15th-hole win over Gavin Green.

How Asia lost its lead

Although world top-10 golfers Rahm, Rose and Garcia were not in the lineup for Europe, the squad boasted five golfers currently ranked in the world top 20. The highest-ranked golfer from Asia, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, was absent; his presence certainly would have boosted Asia’s hopes on Sunday. Partner play in team matches is unpredictable, but the talent of a team rises on singles day. And so it was at Glenmarie in Malaysia. The Asian team, while dogged, could not ascend to the level of its opponent.

Kizzire outlasts Hahn at the Sony Open in Hawaii

I’ll confess that I still suffer from Woodsitis, where a front-runner was likely to win the tournament, but I’m in treatment. PGA Tour events are supposed to be competitive, and even go topsy-turvy from time-to-time. Such was the case on Sunday at the Waialae Country Club. Over the closing holes, the leader made double bogey and missed the playoff, the guy who shot 62 snuck into the playoff, and the fellow who played the final seven holes in 1-over won the tournament!

How Patton Kizzire committed trophy robbery on Maui

Maxie Patton Kizzire has yet to win on mainland USA, but he has two tournament titles in his two seasons on the big tour. Kizzire never looked like a winner on Sunday, with pars on his first nine holes. An eagle-birdie run at the advent of the inward nine caught our attention, but his finish was anything but spectacular. When Tom Hoge closed poorly, Kizzire found himself in a playoff with James Hahn. The Auburn alumnus never looked like a winner until he won. He missed shots here, there and everywhere, but somehow stayed afloat. On the sixth extra hole, Kizzire made par to Hahn’s bogey, and the trophy was Alabama-bound.

How Hahn and Hoge came up short

Hahn probably felt like the most fortunate guy in the islands. He birdied half of his holes during the final round, and added two more in overtime. Hahn certainly felt comfortable during extra time; both of his tour wins have come in playoffs. Putts on the first two playoff holes singed the edge but did not fall. The third time wasn’t the charm, but second-place money and points are a warm comfort. Hoge confessed that two bad swings did him in, at 8 and 16, but putts on 17 and 18 gave him a look at the title. Ultimately, his rags-to-riches story received a significant boost from his third-place finish.

Related: Patton Kizzire’s Winning WITB

European Tour opens season at South African Open

Chris Paisley had no business winning this tournament. Branden Grace, a native, had yet to win his country’s Open championship, and he was on a roll. Starting the round 1 behind Paisley, Grace began with birdie and eagle to take the lead. And yet, there was Paisley on the 18th green, owner of a 3-shot victory margin and his inaugural European Tour title. What gives?

How Paisley dumped the monkey

He made 6 birdies and 12 pars on Sunday. Simple, really. Paisley didn’t twitch when Grace blazed early. He kept playing the game that had given him the lead through 54 holes. Paisley spread his birdies out, three on each nine, never consecutively. He forced Grace’s hand, demanded that he play better quicker. On Sunday, Paisley looked more the part of the veteran winning for a 5th or 10th time, and not a 32-year old on the cusp of his first, prime-time title.

How Grace lost his chance at the win

As quickly as the South African golfer grasped the lead on Sunday, he gave it away. Facing a similar bunker recovery to one he had on Saturday where he had to play the ball away from the hole into the fringe, Grace flinched. He pulled it off on Saturday, but left the ball in the sand on Sunday. The resulting double bogey was the only non-par he had from third to the 11th holes. A bogey on 12 was followed by eagle and birdie on the next two holes. For a golfer who prides himself on consistent play, Round 4 was an oddity for Branden Grace.

Champions Tour opens unofficially at the Diamond Resorts Invitational

What better way to start the season than with an unofficial, modified stableford event? Add non-golf athletes and LPGA stalwarts to the field, and the fun really kicks in. Scott Parel held a 1-point advantage on Saturday evening, but felt the weight of expectations throughout the final day. Meanwhile Scott Dunlap made a move with 34 points on Sunday, including a birdie on the last hole. When the dust had settled, two Scotts were tied at the top.

How Parel persevered

Scott Parel last won on the Web.Com Tour in the early part of the decade. He came to the 16th hole 3 points behind Dunlap, but made bogey. His 17th-hole birdie brought him into a tie for the lead, guaranteeing that a closing par would get him the final point he needed for the win. Well, that’s not easy to do, especially after your playing partner shanks his tee ball on the par-3 closer. Parel fanned on his tee shot, left his pitch well short, and made another bogey to finish tied with Dunlap. On the playoff hole, Parel acquitted himself better, two-putting from fairway short of the green for par and the victory.

How Dunlap dunked

It’s unfair to ignore what Scott Dunlap put together on Sunday, and focus solely on the wretched way he played the sole, sudden-victory hole. Dunlap shot the equivalent of a 64 in Round 3, with birdies on his final three holes. Much like Kenny Perry in the 1996 PGA Championship, Dunlap may not have expected to go to extra holes, and may not have prepared for the playoff as expected. What is known is this: he dunked his tee shot, left his par pitch 30 feet short, and left his bogey putt 3 feet short. Ugh.

PGA Tour Australia visits New Zealand for the REBEL Sport Masters

Auckland and its Wainui Country Club hosted the opening event of 2018 on the PGA Tour of Australasia. A full field of hungry young golfers did battle, but in the end, it was a few wizened veterans who held court at the REBEL Sport Masters.

How Millar scaled the mountain

Matthew Millar had as clean a card as one could desire over his closing triumvirate of 67s. One bogey and one double were all that marred his stellar play over the final 54 holes. The result was a 5-stroke triumph and his second career Australasian tournament title. Even Millar’s opening 72, 1-over par, was a thing of consistency. His 15 pars and 1 birdie simply needed a few more of the later; he obliged over the next three days.

How Smail and Fowler locked in their top-3 finishes

David Smail was brilliant over the first six holes on Sunday. Birdies on five of them brought him into the title picture, but he could not maintain the pace. To his credit, not a single bogey soiled his card on the final day. Unfortunately, after birdie at the 6th, it would be nine consecutive pars before closing with birdies at 16 and 18. Nevertheless, his mighty 64 shot him past a host of competitors into solo second. The ageless Peter Fowler led on Day 1 with 66, but would not crack 70 the rest of the way. His veteran guile allowed him to overcome bogeys on 2 and 3 on Day 4, and steady the rudder. With 5 birds against 2 bogeys over the remainder of the course, Fowler came in under par on Day 4, 1 behind Smail and 5 back of Millar.

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Photos from the 2018 Sony Open in Hawaii

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The second half of the Hawaiian swing brings the PGA Tour to Waialae Country Club (7,044 yards, par 70) for the 2018 Sony Open in Hawaii, and GolfWRX Forum Member tod071 was on the grounds taking photos. Special thanks to him and Reid Ogata!

The field this week consists of Jordan Spieth, defending-champion Justin Thomas, two-time Sony Open winner Jimmy Walker, 2017 Rookie-of-the-Year Xander Schauffele, and a slew of the game’s top players.

Check out our photos from the Sony Open on the island of Oahu!

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